Peanut Butter Cake, With Dairy-Free Chocolate and Peanut Butter Frostings

My grandfather - a.k.a. Paw Paw - turned 84 on March 1. It was a great milestone to celebrate, and I volunteered to hold the festivities at my house, complete with dinner, balloons, cake and Elmo plates! I had to work during the day, and when I got home I had about three hours to make everything and get the house in order for guests. I knew I didn't have the ingredients (or time) to make a cake from scratch. Not to mention the fact that trying out a brand-new recipe on guests scares me to death. Since time was of the essence I decided to pull a Paula Deen and doctor up a cake mix. I know that some people turn their noses up at cake mixes. And I know that some people turn their noses up at Paula Deen. I, however, do neither of those things. I'm not a fashion snob, a music snob or a food snob. Life is too short - and too hurried at times - to be a snob and miss out on fantastic, less-expensive and less time-consuming things - like this Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake. It was fabulous.

I did in fact make the frosting from scratch. Well, I didn't make the peanut butter from scratch, but that's on my list of things to try someday! I wanted a less-sweet frosting to pair with the peanut-butter cake, and I didn't want all peanut-butter frosting, either. So I made chocolate icing (dairy-free for my dad who is allergic to milk) and peanut-butter icing, too, but just for the middle layer. This cake went over well, and I'm still getting compliments on it from Brad. There wasn't much left as of this morning. And who knows? By the time I get home today it may be all gone. But that's a good thing!

Peanut Butter Cake
Adapted from Allrecipes
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1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 (18.25 ounce) package butter cake mix
2/3 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch, round cake pans.
2. In a large bowl mix butter and peanut butter until creamy, about three minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cake mix alternately with water and beat until just combined, being careful not to overmix or the cake may be tough. Divide batter evenly and pour into prepared cake pans.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pan at least 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool complete. Once cool, frost and serve.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Recipe Zaar

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1/2 cup dairy-free spread
2 cups powdered sugar
1 organic egg yolk
1/3 cup cocoa powder
Water, as needed

1. In a large bowl beat dairy-free spread and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and beat well, then beat in cocoa powder. If you find the frosting too thick at this point add a bit of water, a teaspoon at a time. Makes enough frosting for a 9-inch, one-layer cake. (You may need to double the recipe if you're making the peanut-butter cake above.)

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter and Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Allergy Grocer
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1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
Up to 1.5 cup milk substitute (I used Rice Dream.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat peanut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla and powdered sugar. Add milk substitute, a bit at a time, until frosting is a spreadable consistency; you may not need the entire 1.5 cups.